A new book on the shelf! Yay!
On July 6, 2018 | 0 Comments

Black Velvet Seduction Blog by Amanda Ravenscroft

I am delighted to let you know that The Brute and I by Suzanne Smith. The e-book is available now.  In the next few days, I will be chatting with Suzanne.  For now, I want to give you a sample of our latest book.

Chapter One

I turned the brass knob quickly, the nauseating fist of fear hitting me hard in the belly as I looked up and saw Marco standing on the other side of the bedroom door. He stood eerily still, close to the center of the doorway, not moving a muscle and not saying a word.

His beautiful brown curls lay flat and matted against his forehead and the jeans he wore were caked with dirt. The putrid stench of whiskey that bounced off his body burned my nostrils.

I began to tremble as his bloodshot eyes cut through my flesh with surgical precision, darting down to the tattered straw suitcase that I held in my hand, then back up to my face.

The sting of his threatening words was fresh in my mind, “Don’t try to take anything from me Alex or you will regret it.” I let the suitcase slip from between my shaking fingers as if detaching it from my body would keep me safe. Judging by the snarl on Marco’s face, it would not.

Acting on survival instinct, I hunched my shoulders into a tight ball, just as my cousin Chris used to do in the face of my father’s assaults, trying to make my body small enough to fit into the narrow space under Marco’s right shoulder. Go Alex. Now!

I ducked until I was beneath his immediate reach but my shaky legs slowed me to almost a crawl and he easily subdued me. With little effort, he shoved me deep into the arms of his favorite leather recliner.

He kneeled at the foot of the chair, his powerful legs binding mine between them like bookends as his hands pinned my fingers down at my side. I was not physically strong enough to overpower him. There was no escape.

The words let me go froze in my throat. He could crush my skull or snap my neck if he wanted to. I was completely at his mercy and I knew it. I felt his grip tighten as he began to speak.

“Didn’t I warn you never to take anything from me?”

He squeezed my hand even tighter. I was not going to scream. I was in agonizing pain but wounded pride kept me silent. I heard the bones in my fingers begin to crack.

“Is what’s in that suitcase worth your life?”

I bought my eyes up to his but the weight of his stare was so fierce and full of hatred that I turned my face away. He locked my slender jaw between his thumb and forefinger and raised my face until our eyes were in perfect alignment.

“Don’t you dare turn away from me again.”

I didn’t. Even when he took his hands away. I sat there staring right into his emerald eyes silently praying for a miracle. Praying that he would either pass out soon or forget that he was so angry at me.

The longer I stared at him, the more aware I became of how clear his eyes were becoming. There was hardly any redness to them now and I began to fear that he was quickly sobering up and was neither going to pass out nor forget anything.

“Answer me,” he said in a gritty voice. “Is what’s in that suitcase worth your life?”

He paused for a moment. I felt a cold chill run down my spine. I sensed that his hesitation was not to give me time to answer but because he had another life threatening question to pose.

“Is it worth your new lover’s life?”

He knew about Jake! I bit the inside of my lip. The bitter metallic taste of blood filled my mouth. I wondered if Marco had already confronted Jake. Maybe beat him or done even worse. The image of Jake’s bloody corpse sprawled out on his soft leather sofa made me gag.

Had Jake’s desire for me gotten him killed? I struggled to push the unnerving idea to the back of my mind, comforting myself with the thought that even if it were true, Jake was not an innocent victim. Nor was he a victim of circumstance.

He had known the risks. He was aware of how jealous Marco could be. He had found that out when he’d put his hand on my leg and Marco had almost broken it. Besides that, if Marco had attacked him, Jake was a man and at least stood a fighting chance. The only defense I had was my wit.

There was nothing I could do for Jake. Whether he was dead or alive, he was not here now. I knew if I was going to leave this room tonight, I needed to focus. Focus on making Marco remember how much he loved me. Work on taking Marco’s memory of Jake out of the equation. I had to make him believe that my infidelity was a mistake, one that would not be repeated.

“I’m so-sorry.” I heard my voice crack as I spoke. “I made a mis-” Dread stopped me in mid-sentence as I watched a single teardrop roll down his cheek. I had never seen him cry. But if there was one thing that I knew about Marco it was that he was not a man to suffer alone.

I remembered the night he’d talked about the drunk who had run his mother and father off the road. He’d told me that he was in such pain he would have murdered the man with his bare hands if he could have found him. I felt the goose bumps cover my skin as I recognized the same pained angry look on his face now as he’d had then.

How should I answer him? Were the contents of that suitcase worth my life? Worth Jake’s life? What did he want to hear? Yes? No? Which answer would soothe him?

“It’s a simple question,” he said abrasively. “Give me an answer.”

Seething anger mixed with fear deep inside me as I shot a quick glance at the suitcase on the floor. I was entitled to everything in that suitcase. I considered it compensation for the articles of worth that Marco had forced me to compromise.

My heart when I had found out that he had screwed Nurse Betty in our bed. My soul when I had screwed Jake just to even the score.

My dignity had been destroyed. There was a price for that. If I left without that suitcase I had sacrificed everything I was for nothing.

As I squirmed in my seat contemplating which answer to give, I began to think about the only other time I had felt so gutted and angry. It was when I was in the seventh grade and the class bully Tommy Weazz had stolen every penny of my lunch money for the entire month of September.

When I had finally found the courage to conk him on the head with my wooden baseball bat and he had run away whimpering, I had known that he would never bother me again.

The sense of victory that I felt in the face of Tommy’s defeat had made me feel stronger than I had ever felt in my life. On that day, I vowed never to be a victim again.

I cringed as I realized that despite that vow, I was Marco’s victim now. Pinned in the chair with my back against the wall and my eye’s fixed on Marco’s rock solid frame, I felt that same frustrating feeling of helplessness creep through me.

It felt as if I were a person of no consequence, with no control over my own destiny, easily discarded, like yesterday’s trash. I despised that feeling, of being dead while I was still alive.

Which answer would soothe Marco? I didn’t care. I was done letting him control my words. My thoughts. For once I was going to say what I felt, not what I thought he wanted to hear. A savage blend of courage and stupidity twisted and turned in my belly, my common sense buried underneath the potent mix as the words shot up my throat.

“Fuck you. I’m taking what’s mine.” His laugh was cold. My body began to shake as he squeezed my legs tighter between his.

“That is why I fell in love with you. You simply cannot back down from a challenge. You would rather die than give up. You really believe that what’s in that suitcase belongs to you?”

My own deafening silence stabbed me in the brain. I wanted to scream out my answer. Yes! It belongs to me. But fear sealed my lips shut. I could see the beads of sweat form on his forehead.

“I would admire your perseverance. Truly I would. If only you weren’t such a greedy psychopathic bitch hell bent on destroying me.

“The sad truth is that I would have given you anything that you wanted. All you had to do was ask.  But that’s not your style, is it? You don’t want anything given to you. You want to take.”

His face looked old and haggard. Like a man at the end of his life instead of in his prime. There was no doubt in my mind that I was responsible for his frail demeanor. A feeling of bittersweet vindication swept through me as I realized the bleak consequences of my payback.

“How many times have you told me that you hated Jake? Yet you fucked him. I’ll bet you didn’t even give it a second thought. Do you know how that feels?” He asked in a battered voice. “The futility of loving someone who considers you insignificant?”

Of course I knew how that felt. I had felt exactly that way on my last birthday. All year long, I had waited to share that special day with Marco. But now, it filled me with loathing. I would always remember it as the day Marco left me alone to be with her. It infuriated me to hear him speak of himself as if he were a faultless victim.

“At least I didn’t screw Jake on your birthday. Or in our bed! Like you did that stuck up bitch from Simply Elegant Nurse Betty.”

“Yes,” he said in a hushed tone. “That was my intention.”

I had to strain my ears to hear him. It seemed as if he was trying to reveal a part of himself that I had never seen before. A facet of his personality he both wanted me to see and wanted to keep hidden at the same time.

“I tried to convince myself I was still a man with a will of my own. That you were replaceable. But I couldn’t go through with it.

“When I touched her all I saw was your face. Your scent was still on the pillows. I pushed her away and she started crying and ran out of the room. I haven’t seen her since.”

Grief spread through me like wildfire. If what he said was true, not only had I abased myself before Jake for no reason but I had gone from being the betrayed to the betrayer. I felt a sharp twinge of pain touch my heart, the unmistakable cloud of guilt riding on its wings.

“That happened the day after I asked you to marry me. After you turned me down and cut me to the quick. Maybe on some level, I wanted to punish you for saying no. I don’t know.”

I saw a soft pleading look in his eyes as if he needed me to understand how deeply my rejection had hurt him.

“Nothing happened between Betty and me. As far as your birthday, I spent the entire day and night in a drunken stupor in Bice, the dive across the street from your school. Alone. Not fit for company.”

My heart began to soften. I wanted to offer him comfort and sympathy. To take him in my arms and tell him that Jake meant nothing. That I was sorry. If I could undo it, I would.

But how could I be sure he was telling the truth? I had seen the way that he and Nurse Betty had looked at each other.

How his eyes had focused on the strip of lace that had barely covered her breasts. The way she had teasingly run the tip of her tongue across her lips, so sexually explicit it had made me blush.

I had been consumed by jealousy that day at Simply Elegant. I remembered thinking that if it hadn’t been for me standing between them, they would have screwed right in the middle of the boutique isle.

Humiliation rushed through me as the image of Nurse Betty and Marco fondling each other in our bed flooded my mind. I felt blindsided like a prizefighter knocked down by a sucker punch.

I scarcely believed that I was stupid enough to give credence to Marco’s vile lie. That I would even for one second consider it possible for him to have laid next to such a wanton vixen without anything having happened between them.

Heavy tears rolled down my cheek. Despite all my protests and all that had passed between us, I was in danger of falling in love with him all over again.

I hated this weakness in myself. The flaw in my psychological makeup that made it possible for him to exert such control over my emotions.

“I’m telling you the truth about Betty,” he said in a stern voice. “Deep down inside, I think you know it.”

I was lost. He broke my heart when he touched me. He broke my heart when he didn’t touch me. It was as if I didn’t even have a heart unless he willed it so.

If I stayed here any longer, I was certain that I would surrender. Give every part of myself to the vulnerable boy who sat before me now. Do my best to ease his suffering.

My blood began to boil as a fierce wall of determination built up inside me. I knew what I had to do. I had to force his hand before he could tear my defenses down and make a fool of me again.

He was either going to have to set me free or kill me. I refused to live life crawling on my hands and knees. Bowing down before him and being nothing more than his air-headed concubine. This sadistic mockery had gone on long enough.

I was not going to apologize for Jake any more than he was going to apologize for Nurse Betty. I twisted the corner of my lip upward. I felt the river of blackness bleed into my soul as I took what may have been my last breath.

“Well, I can’t say the same for myself. The second Jake touched me I completely forgot what you looked like. As far as his smell, let’s just say that I was too busy with other things to notice it.” My heart leaped out of my chest as he lunged forward and wrapped his strong hands around my throat.

“You are enjoying my emasculation aren’t you?”

He squeezed tighter and tighter as I struggled for air. I tried to pry his thick fingers off my neck but succeeded only in breaking the tips of all ten fingernails. I had no strength left to fight him. I felt my body go limp with exhaustion.

There was no way I could escape the dire consequences of betraying him. I was naive not to have listened to his warning. Gullible to have thought that the depth of his affection would guarantee my safety.

When I felt the bones of my windpipe begin to shatter, I knew even if I could have broken free from his death grip it was too late to make amends.

Maybe it was because I was becoming lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. Or maybe it was the fear of death that had made me delirious. But as the beat of my heart began to slow and my heavy eyelids started to shut, all I could think about were the quiet candlelit dinners that Marco and I had shared at Giuseppe’s. The serene midnight strolls that we had taken down the fragrant flower laden Rue Boulevard. The lazy Sunday mornings that we had spent lying in bed, our glistening bodies so exhausted from hour after hour of lovemaking we had scarcely been able to move.

I felt confused. My mind was saturated with regret. The same strong fingers that had gently caressed every inch of my soft pink flesh with such erotic sweetness so many times before now attacked me with unrestrained brutality. I had no air left in my lungs. I would have begged for mercy if I could have spoken.

I was running out of time. With every iota of strength that I had, I grabbed the baby finger on his left hand with both of mine. I began twisting it as far back as it would go, trying to break the sturdy bone, hoping the pain would distract him just long enough for me to break free.

It was no use. The thick bone would not budge. All hope was gone. The arrow of resignation lodged its sharp point in my brain as I realized that I was going to die.

The only future I had was here and now. This god-awful purgatory, too far from paradisiacal heaven and too close to earthly hell. A dismal feeling of finality spread through me as I realized that I would never see my mother, father, or cousin Chris again.

I wished I had told my mother and father how sorry I was for my defiant outbursts. I wanted to let my cousin Chris know that I was wrong for not supporting him when he had needed me the most. Our differences seemed so petty.

It saddened me to know that it was too late to change any of that now. When I saw the room go black and felt my knees buckle beneath me, I knew I was out of time. This was it. My twenty-one years on this earth would be wiped out without a trace.

I wondered if I would still be able to feel the pain in my twisted limbs when Marco shoved my lifeless body into the trunk of the Mercedes.

If I would still feel the breathlessness when he buried my bones beneath the fertile black soil of some remote cornfield.

Would he wake up screaming with remorse and drenched with sweat, haunted by his crime for all eternity? I hoped so.

My body went numb and my mind became docile. I was completely at peace, immune to sight and sound. Weightless as a feather. Like the essence of my person had been siphoned out of me. I did not know if I was dead or alive.

My serenity was disrupted by an uncomfortable rocking sensation. It seemed as if my body was moving back and forth like someone was shaking me. Then I heard a strange noise. An abrupt coughing wheezing gurgle.

It took me a few seconds to realize that it was the sound of me gasping for air. My throat felt sandy and dry. It was hard to swallow my own saliva. I slowly opened my eyes, blinded by the light at first, but clearly able to see after a few seconds.

Marco’s face was just inches from mine, his body bent over me on the hardwood floor. I could see the tears rolling down his cheek. He wrapped his arms around me and lifted me off the floor.

I wanted to pull away from him but I didn’t have the strength. My brush with death had left me as weak as a newborn kitten. Even with the throbbing pain in my neck and the sensitive feel of the jagged edge of my broken fingernails scraping against the panels of wood flooring, I was thankful to be alive.

Never again would I take life for granted. Or how much I loved and would miss my mother, father, and Chris. I was ashamed that it had taken me until now to realize this.

I winced when Marco put his hand on my throat. My body stiffened with the petrifying thought that he was going to finish what he’d started. When he began to gently massage my neck, I felt my muscles relax.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He gently cupped my chin in his hands and raised my face until our eyes locked. The intensity of his passionate stare seared the very fringe of my soul. I had always loved this about him. His unguarded display of emotion. Until tonight, when it had almost gotten me killed.

“You kept pushing and pushing me. When you started talking about Jake, I lost it.” He hung his head.

“I know I can’t take back what I did. But I would give anything not to see that frightened hateful look in your eyes. Can you ever forgive me?”

I didn’t answer right away. Not only because I couldn’t think of what to say but also because my throat was so sore I didn’t know if I could speak.

“You’re-you’re right.” I had never heard him stutter before. “Of course you can’t forgive me. There is no excuse for being a coward or acting like an animal.” He bowed his head as if he were ashamed. “I swear with all my heart it will never happen again. All I want to do is talk.”

My fear began to dissipate as I looked into his eyes. He looked shattered. Like my father had looked when he talked about his dead friend Lenny. I could feel the chafe in the back of my throat as I spoke.

“I believe you. Please. Just let me go home. We can talk when we have both calmed down.” A sense of relief washed through me as he stood up and walked to the big bay window. He was still close to me but far enough away that I could have gotten past him if I moved quickly.

I got slowly to my feet, giving myself a few extra seconds to figure out what to do next. If I stayed I knew I ran the risk of his hot temper flaring up again. My words had to be chosen carefully. But what if I ran? What if I was not quick enough to get past him? That was certain to bring out his anger. I watched him lower his head and rub his thumb against his temple.

“My head is killing me. Serves me right for acting like a drunken fool.”

I was sure that most of the booze was out of his system now and the discomfort of his newly acquired hangover was dulling his senses and slowing him down. I knew that if I was going to run, this was the perfect time.

My eyes darted nervously from one end of the room to the other, fixing an escape route firmly in my mind. Courage percolated inside me. This was it. The only chance I might get to save myself.

I slowly leaned forward and began rocking back and forth. Marco was still rubbing his temples seemingly unaware of any movement I was making. I felt my hands start to sweat as I began the mental countdown. One. Two. Three. Run Alex.

A paralyzing plague spread through every part of me. My feet were heavy as if they were encased in cement blocks. My arms were stiff and bent at the elbows. It was like I was shackled by some invisible force.

My own behavior baffled me. All night long I had struggled to get away from Marco. Yet now that I had the opportunity I hesitated. I asked myself why I chose to remain here a second longer, in this dreary pit of defeat that had almost become my tomb.

Maybe I was afraid of failing and feared the repercussions of a failed escape attempt. Maybe I was simply too terrified to run, frozen with fear, but didn’t want to admit it even to myself. Maybe I wanted to prove to Marco that I was no coward, that I was strong enough to stand my ground.

I tried to convince myself that it could have been any one of these things but in my heart, I knew better. I was confident that I was quick enough to make it past Marco. He had placed himself far enough away from me to make that possible. I was not frozen with fear. My body was pumped up with adrenaline and ready to go. Marco already knew that I was no coward. The fact that I had come here tonight instead of going home to my mother was proof of that.

My head began to throb as I thought of the one reason that fit. It fit as neatly as the final piece in a jigsaw puzzle. I didn’t run because I didn’t want to. I didn’t want freedom. I wanted Marco.

I felt pathetic. I realized that no matter what he had done, I didn’t have the strength to break the bond between us. The eternal tie that linked my heart to his. I wondered if he knew that about me. If he could look inside me and see that I needed him to make me feel whole.

Shame kicked me hard in the stomach. Maybe he did. Perhaps that was why he had stepped back. Not to give me a chance to run to freedom, a chance he knew I wouldn’t take, but to let me see how much of a slave to love I really was. The pained look I saw on his face inspired a strange brew of hostility and pity in me.

“I’m not a fool. I know once you leave this room I may never see you again. I will not try to stop you. But please tell me before you walk out of my life forever. What changed between us?” The gentle tone of his voice oozed with sincerity. “Is it that you no longer find me physically attractive?”

I looked at the thick brown curls that framed his piercing emerald colored eyes, the deliciously bowed arch of his full pink lips, the smooth olive skin that stretched tightly over his tall tan muscular frame. He was a masterpiece, the embodiment of masculine perfection.

“That’s it, isn’t it Alex?”

I remembered when our love had been in its infancy. I had been happy to see the eyes of every woman in Marco’s bar Vive open wide when Marco walked their way as if they had been zapped by a welcome jolt of energizing electricity. It made me feel good that they all wanted him but I had him.

But I had been young and inexperienced, not sophisticated, with nothing to offer him but my fresh freckled face. I knew that this shallow attribute may have drawn him to me, but I was certain it was not enough to hold him.

A lack of self-esteem had built up inside me until I had begun to feel threatened by even the smallest gesture of female flirtation, like his friend Jocelyn sitting too close to him at Vive.

It was too demeaning to tell him that the problem was that I found him too attractive, that I was insanely jealous of the provocative feminine behavior that he probably didn’t even take notice of. “No Marco. That’s not it.”

“Is it the way I talk? Am I too blunt?”

The fact that he had not been afraid to say what he meant no matter how trivial or how important had been refreshing in the beginning. When he had first told me that he loved me, he had said it with passionate conviction. It had been quite a welcome change from my ex-boyfriend Jamie’s stuttering attempt at expressing his affection.

But the more insecure I became in myself and the less sure of my ability to hold onto him, the more I began to imagine that the day would come when he would no longer be able to tolerate the sight of my face. He would not hesitate to express his hatred with the same clarity as he expressed his love.

The thought of him voicing his rejection had terrified me. What if I shared this fear with him tonight and he told me I was right? He did hate me. Once the words were spoken, there was no taking them back. I would be destroyed. I forced my eyes to meet his hoping this small assertive action would hide how cowardly I felt. “No Marco. That’s not it.”

“What is it then?”

The curt tone that I heard in his voice made me realize how impatient he was growing with me. He had told me more than once that my tendency towards skirting around the truth drove him crazy.

I wished I shared his confident flair for getting directly to the point but I didn’t. When he locked the fingers of both his hands together and began tapping his forehead I knew I had driven him to his wit’s end.

“I can’t read your mind Alex. You have to tell me what’s going on.”

I was choking on my own sense of inferiority. I knew it was not his fault that I felt threatened by his desirability. Nor was it his fault that I was afraid of his frank manner of speaking. Truth be told, his beauty and his honesty were the very reasons that I had fallen in love with him.

“Marco I-” I wanted to tell him everything. How insecure I was in myself and how scared I was of losing him. That I felt lost without him by my side. But I was afraid that once he saw this clinging childlike side of me, it would drive him away, right into the waiting arms of the confident and beautiful Nurse Betty.

“Tell me what you are feeling.” I saw the anguished look spread across his face as he took a step closer. “Please don’t shut me out.”

A flush of optimism stirred deep inside me. I began to believe him, to trust that he’d sympathize with my obsessive fear of rejection, find my frailty a source of empathy and not amusement.

I knew if I didn’t want to lose him forever, I had to bear my soul, open my heart to him and pray he wouldn’t break it again.

I walked toward him cautiously. I was uncertain if my honesty would be met with praise or ridicule.

“I got scared.” My body began to tremble as I gazed into his eyes. “I was afraid that you were going to leave me. That is what changed between us.” He closed the small gap of space between us and gently took my hand in his.

“What did I do to make you think that?”

“It’s…I know I don’t have anything to offer you.” I swallowed hard. “Jocelyn. Nurse Betty. What do I have that they don’t?” He pressed my hand to his fast beating heart.

“This.” He spoke barely above a whisper but the blistering blaze that flashed in his eyes emphasized the truth of what he said.

I felt loved and protected. I knew it was ridiculous to feel this way, especially since he had just tried to kill me, but I did not have the will to resist. He wrapped his arms around my waist.

“I’m sorry I hurt you Alex. I never meant to. When I found out about Jake it broke my heart.”

My fear began to flicker. I realized how short-sighted I had been in only considering how my words would affect his anger. I had no control over how his own words would affect his anger. I had to get his mind off Jake.

“Please. I don’t want to talk about Jake.”

“I don’t want to either, Alex. But we have to. We need to talk about what happened with Jake.” I felt the tension in his hands as he pulled me closer. “Jake and your special room.”

 

I would love to know what you think.  If you have anything you would like to add or share, I’d love to hear your comments here on the blog, the BVS Facebook page, or my Facebook page. We have a twitter page too, and we are always happy to follow people that follow us.

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Our latest releases.

A Woman’s Secret by C.L. Koch is out now!

Love times Infinity by K.L. Ramsey is out now! Click here to read Chapter one.

Her Lover’s Face by Patricia Elliott is out now!  Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one.

Naval Maneuvers by Dee S. Knight is out now!  Click here to read Chapter one.

Perilous Love by Jan Selbourne. The e-book is out now!  Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one.  viewbook.at/Perilous-Love-PB

Love’s Patient Journey by K.L. Ramsey is out now!  Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter one.

Patrick by Callie Carmen. Click here to read Chapter one.

Love’s Design by K.L. Ramsey. Click here to read the Prologue and Chapter One.

Coming soon.

A Bride for a King by L.J. Dare is available to pre-order now! Release date July 19th  Click here to read Chapter one.

The Brute and I by Suzanne Smith. The e-book is available to pre-order now at the sale price of $1.99 until the release date July 30th

 

Shadow Visions by Gabriella Hewitt, release date to be confirmed.

Home by Keren Hughes, release date to be confirmed.

Love’s Promise by K.L. Ramsey, release date August 8th

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